Spring a mixed bag: Bureau of Meteorology

Posted on: April 20th, 2019 by
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SPRING OUTLOOK: The jury is still out on whether Tasmania will experience a wetter spring than the average, with the Bureau of Meteorology outlook showing an equal chance for wet and dry conditions. Picture: Cordell Richardson.

Farmers will have to wait a little longer before they know for certain whether Tasmaniawill have a wetter or drier spring than average, however temperatures are likely to be hotter than average.

The latest outlook report from the Bureau of Meteorology shows a 50 per cent chance of the spring season being either wetter or drier than average.

Climate indicators at this stage do not tend towards either scenario, Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Catherine Ganter said.

“With respect to farmers and normal conditions, it appears farmers have a good base to start with [for spring],” Ms Ganter said.

The report shows an 80 per cent chance of hotter-than-average temperatures occurring for the whole of Tasmania.

“Both the maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be warmer than average and that includes day time and night time temperatures.”

Earlier in the year the state was in the grip of an El Nino weather system that caused lower-than-average rainfall to occur across most regions.

The El Nino was a mixed bag for farmers, with the livestock industry experiencing fodder shortages and some horticulture industries harvests wereimpacted.

However other industries, such as berries, poppies and viticulture experienced bountiful harvests.

The El Nino began to weak over the autumn and winter months but brought with it the 50 per cent chance of its opposite weather pattern La Nina to appear.

“In the Indian Ocean we have a negative diapole that has been influencing climate the past few months but it is weakening and on the other side in the Pacific Ocean our climate indicators are currently neutral.”

Ms Ganter said there was still a chance La Nina could form but it was getting a bit late for the southern states, including Tasmania.

“It’s still looking like 50-50 for La Nina but the two climate drivers [of the system] are either neutral or weakening,” she said.

“We may approach La Nina thresholds later in the year but it might be a bit too late for us in the south.”

The current negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) pattern is expected to weaken over the spring period. This means its influence on Australian rainfall is likely to decrease in the coming months.

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is neutral, with sea surface temperatures showing a cooling trend since late last year.

In periods when La Niña is developing or near thresholds, some areas typically experience La Niña-like impacts, including above average rainfall across northern Australia.It is less likely to hit Tasmania.

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